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Re: ALT Text - CMS Problem


From: Vlad Alexander (XStandard)
Date: Apr 14, 2011 4:51PM

Hi David,

The best approach is to show authors how the text they compose in the alternate text field is going to be used. Once authors "see" alternate text in use, the penny drops. This is how we achieve this in XStandard WYSIWYG editor through a feature called Images As Text:


If your CMS does not support an editor with Images As Text feature, consider training authors to think of alternate text not as a short description of an image but as a textual substitute for an image that must read well within surrounding text.


-------- Original Message --------
From: David Ashleydale
Date: 4/14/2011 3:08 PM
> Hi,
> I have a conundrum that I'd love to hear some perspectives on. We have a
> content management system at work that forces users to enter non-null ALT
> text for every image on a web page -- even images that are deemed
> "decorative".
> First, do you think I should get them to fix this system so that users can
> choose whether an image gets ALT text or null ALT text? One of the potential
> problems with doing that is it might result in meaningful images getting
> null ALT text because the page authors could then just "skip them" by
> choosing null. Since we are now forcing page authors to think about ALT
> text, they're at least trying and they cannot proceed without assigning ALT
> text to every image. And we do have a much higher percentage of meaningful
> images than decorative images on our site.
> Is it worth possibly increasing the number of meaningful images with null
> ALT text in order to correctly assign null ALT text to decorative images?
> Second, if we do leave the system the way it is, what are some good
> guidelines to give to page authors when they are confronted with having to
> come up with ALT text for decorative images? I'm sure "keep it short" is one
> good tip -- any others?
> Thanks,
> David Ashleydale